While social networking overall has grown quite rapidly, among our oldest netizens it has not. As late as last year, only 22 percent of those over 50 said they used a social network according to a new study from Pew Internet. For whatever reason, that is quickly changing: now 42 percent say they use those services.
The sudden change in attitudes towards social media among our oldest surfers likely has a lot to do with its saturation among younger demographics. 86 percent of those between 18-29, and 61 percent of those 30-49 are now participants, and the older demographics are likely the parents and grandparents of those younger users.
With families becoming ever more spread out, using Facebook or Twitter is likely the best and cheapest way to stay in touch. In addition, these older users may be executives and using a professional social network such as LinkedIn as part of their careers as well.
E-mail is still heavily used in the over-50 crowd, differentiating it from younger users who have by and large turned to social networking instead to communicate.